Executive Summary for September 25th

We review the latest issues related to refugees, including two deadly shipwrecks en route to Europe, Trump’s new travel ban and German election results that see Chancellor Angela Merkel reelected and the far right set to enter parliament.

Published on Sep. 25, 2017 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

Dozens Killed in Two Refugee Shipwrecks

Dozens of people were feared drowned after boats sank off the Libyan coast and off Turkey’s northern coast, killing migrants trying to reach Europe.

The first boat departed from the Libyan city of Sabratha more than a week ago but ran out of fuel and had been adrift for days before it washed ashore near Zuwara.

The Libyan coastguard said local families rescued around 30 survivors, including five women and a child. They also recovered eight bodies, but the boat is thought to have been carrying more than 100 passengers.

Another boat sank off the coast of Turkey in the Marmara Sea. Turkey’s coast guard found 40 survivors and at least 15 bodies, but were still searching for around 15 missing passengers.

The route from Turkey to Romania across the perilous Black Sea has been growing in recent months – around 475 people arrived in one month this summer, compared to 500 in total from 2013 to 2015.

Trump Issues New Travel Ban; Refugee Rules Expected Shortly

U.S. president Donald Trump ordered a new, expanded travel ban and is expected to issue new rules on refugee resettlement this week, the New York Times reported.

The president’s proclamation indefinitely bans most travel from Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Chad and North Korea, as well as certain Venezuelan officials, and mandates extra scrutiny for travelers from Iraq.

It replaces his earlier executive order, which expired on September 24, and throws the course of the Supreme Court case over that order into doubt.

The ban does not apply to refugees, officials told the New York Times. A separate suspension of all refugee resettlement in the U.S. expires on October 24 and the president will announce new rules for refugees within days, the newspaper reported.

Far Right to Enter German Parliament for First Time in 60 Years

Alternative for Germany (AfD) will be the first far-right party to enter German parliament in more than 60 years after campaigning on an anti-immigration platform.

AfD came third in the German election with 13 percent of the vote, surpassing the threshold for parliamentary seats for the first time.

Chancellor Angela Merkel was reelected but her Christian Democrat (CDU) and the Christian Social Union (CSU) bloc received its lowest share of the vote in almost 70 years.

The Social Democratic party SPD, previously in coalition with Merkel, said it would now go into opposition, blocking the AfD from become the primary opposition party in parliament. Merkel faces weeks of coalition negotiations ahead.

The anti-immigration AfD did particularly well in former communist eastern Germany, Merkel’s home region, where the party won some 22.9 percent of the vote.

Syrian refugees in Germany told Reuters they rejoiced upon Merkel’s reelection, but feared what the asylum policy of the new government will be considering the strong showing of the far right.

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